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How to find a reliable mechanic

September 2015

Servicing your car is an important part of keeping your “wheels”in good condition at all times. Regular servicing according to the manufacturer’s requirements should never be neglected, no matter how old your vehicle is.

A manufacturer’s service plan will take care of servicing and/or maintenance up to a certain mileage, or for a limited time period. But, at some point, you may need to go to a mechanic to service your vehicle. So how do you go about finding are liable mechanic you can trust to keep your car running smoothly without incurring exorbitant costs?  

Word of mouth is king
Speak to friends and family and find out where they take their vehicles for servicing. Chances are they’ll know an aftermarket mechanic or service centre that has treated them, and their vehicle, - well. You’ll also find out where you definitely shouldn’t take your vehicle.

Is the mechanic registered and legitimate?
Any reliable and legitimate mechanic should be registered with the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). You can use the RMI website to search for the mechanic or business and check whether they are registered and in good standing.

You can also search the AA's database of accredited service providers, including auto body repairers, auto electricians,locksmiths and more. (see below)

Assess the premises
While a spotless floor and clean hands would be nice, a true mechanic will be immersed in the running of their business and should be getting their hands dirty along with their technicians. The number of vehicles in their workshop and surrounds also speak volumes. Have the same cars been in the same spots for months or do jobs move through the shop regularly?

Do some research online
The internet is a treasure trove of customer complaints, so take a look online by doing a general search on the business and the mechanic’s name. If there have been disgruntled customers in the past, chances are that they’ve laid a complaint online. Take what other people may have said seriously – remember,it’s your vehicle, your safety, and your money on the line.

Check what warranties may be involved
Does the mechanic  guarantee their work? If they know they are doing a good job with genuine parts, they should be happy to provide you with some sort of guarantee on their work. You should also benefit from any guarantees on the actual parts they have used.

Research what the same job would cost you at a genuine dealer
We all assume that genuine dealer servicing could be  expensive r, which is why aftermarket mechanics are popular  once manufacturer plans have expired. It is recommended that you give your local dealer a call and find out how much the job would cost through them, and ask for a detailed quote.

Ask the mechanic to quote you on the same job and compare the two. You should see the same sort of parts and job requirements in the list, and a lower overall cost due to the typically-lower labour rates that aftermarket mechanics offer compared to dealers.

Don’t let your first interaction be a major job
If it’s possible, try and ‘test’ the mechanic with something small like a minor service – oil change, new filters and spark plugs. If they can deliver on a small job like that and keep you happy, the chances are good that if one day you need them for a bigger job, they won’t disappoint. Ask them to hand over your old parts as well, so you have full satisfaction that the work has been carried out.

Take the time to find a reliable and reasonable mechanic to service your car and you will have found a friend for life. And don’t forget to tell friends and family about him – or her.

 

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Need a service provider? Choose from the AA’s network of trusted providers!
The AA knows that its Members and South African motorists need access to auto service providers that they can trust. AA Quality Assured is a national network of AA accredited service providers, ranging from auto body repairers, vehicle maintenance and repair centres to auto electricians, locksmiths and accessory fitment centres.

To find providers, our team scouts the country for prospective partners. All providers undergo an initial audit followed by annual audits to confirm ongoing compliance to our standards. We evaluate partners as follows:

1)      Their premises

2)      Basic health and safety considerations

3)      Staff qualifications and management oversight

4)      The workshop facilities

The AA also uses ongoing customer reviews and feedback to monitor everyday service delivery and compliance. Where poor compliance exists we have a qualified motor legal attorney who investigates complaints with the view to reaching an amicable settlement between all parties.

Find your accredited service provider here.

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